An Angels Pain
Chapter 8: Rebirth
Cloud shot open his eyes and glanced around. Darkness enveloped him, a supernatural chill seeming to course through his very veins. He curled up, his body seeming to float in the emptiness. He let out a slight shiver, moaning. He could still feel the pain in his chest where Arios had taken him.
"Where am I? This can’t be Heaven…..damn it, that angel must have tricked me….." He scowled. His body tensed as he held himself tighter.
"Where am I?" He asked again, as if waiting for an answer. The words echoed through the darkness, though no answer was made. Cloud grew colder, his courage slowly fading as he realized how hopeless the situation was. He closed his eyes, shivering violently.
"Cloud….." Beckoned a soft voice.
Cloud looked up into a pair of garnet eyes he thought he’d never see again.
"Tifa…..?" Cloud uttered in disbelief. The brunette nodded, smiling. "But how…..?"
She shook her head, letting her long brown tresses fly about. She held up a finger and placed it on Cloud’s lips. "That’s not important. What’s important is that we’re together now." She reassured him as she knelt forward in a deep kiss.
Cloud found it strange how her touch seemed very cold, but he somehow became very intoxicated by the kiss…..
Tifa backed off and smiled. "Come Cloud, let’s go." She commanded softly, taking Cloud’s hand. Cloud nodded and obliged. The fighter smiled deviously. This poor fool was easier to take than I thought…..she thought to herself as her eyes shift to a deep crimson that could only belong to the demon called Chaos.
Arios watched the gate impatiently. "Where is that mortal?" He asked aloud, but no one was around to answer him.
"Check by the gate!"
Arios turned and noticed a pair of solider-like angels making there way to his position.
"Damn it, they’ll catch me if I stay here any longer….." Arios took one last look at the gate of the dead, before disappearing out of sight.
Vincent cautiously rounded a corner, trying his best not to rouse the ten-foot demon that lay in the crevice just next to him. He silently crossed the path of the sleeping creature, letting out a sigh a of relief when he passed the hellion without it so much as shifting its position. He inwardly grinned then turned another corner, only to see a hallway filled with swinging axes and protruding blades that could easily slice Vincent in two.
"Fuck, this has got to be the tenth one of these I’ve past….." He scowled. As he was about to make his way through the trap littered hall, he heard a small hiss, then a stifled growl. He felt a chill run down his spine as he felt strangely hot breath on the back of his neck.
"Shit….." He muttered, turning to face the fully awakened demon.
The dog-faced demon grinned, holding a claw up to Vincent’s cheek. "You’re a pretty one…..bet you taste just as good….."
"Too bad you won’t live to find out….." Vincent replied, summoning his sword to his side. He gripped the handle of the blade, lifting it to an offensive position. He pulled back the blade and just when he was about to strike, the demon jerked forward. The creature hissed as both he and Vincent looked down at it’s abdomen, a sword tip cruelly protruding from it’s innards.
The fast-dying demon was cast aside, revealing the wielder of the sword that killed it.
"Arios! Where’ve you been!?" Vincent gasped.
"What, no hello?" Arios grinned, sheathing his saber. Vincent glared and Arios returned it full with a cocky smile.
"Actually, dear Vincent, I’ve been taking care of that mortal friend of yours….."
"Cloud? Is he alright?" Vincent asked eagerly.
"I…..I don’t know….."
Vincent paused, staring at Arios is slight disbelief. "What do you mean?"
"I lost him….."
"What!? But how?"
"He wanted so badly to save you, but there was no way to get him here. I couldn’t turn him into an angel, but he devised another way….." Arios explained solemnly.
"Another way? The only other way I can think of is….." Vincent gasped. "No…..he’s dead, isn’t he?"
Arios looked away. "That, I’m afraid, was my fault. I cast the final blow….."
Vincent stopped breathing. "You…..you –what-?"
"You heard me, Vincent."
Vincent looked away, anger welling within him. "How could you…..? Why not just leave him there? But no, you had to kill him!" The angel growled, raising his blade and striking down on Arios.
Arios blocked the clumsy attack and backed away. "Calm yourself, fledgling!"
"Bastard!" He screamed, attacking Arios again, only to be blocked further.
"Vincent….." Arios tried, but Vincent continued with his raged attacks, each blow filled with bitter and spite.
Arios had enough. He was tired of these foolish mortals relying on their emotions to guide them. He charged Vincent, ramming him against a wall. The force of the blow was enough to crack the wall, but not break it fully. Arios then pinned the fledgling against the battered wall, holding him by the throat.
"Listen to me well, fallen angel." Arios hissed. "I did nothing to harm your precious lover. He is lost somewhere between Heaven and Earth, and if you want him back, then I suggest that you get your emotions in order else I will probe your feeble mind and put them in order!"
Vincent gasped and nodded consent, his lungs begging for air. The angered archangel released him, letting him fall to the ground, sputtering.
"Why I fell in love with you I’ll never know….." Arios growled.
Vincent coughed, looking up at the archangel. "You what?"
"I won’t repeat myself fledgling."
"You fell in love with me." Vincent stated, rather than asked.
"I did. Though I can assure you, the feelings have faded. You mortals are far too much trouble."
Vincent grinned. "You know," Arios said, helping him to his feet. "Angel’s have died at such defiance to their elders….."
"I am no normal angel, my maker….." Vincent returned sarcastically.
"Indeed. Come, let’s get you out of here."
"So…..how are you going to get us out of here?" Vincent asked impatiently as they rounded another turn. Arios shook his head dismally.
"Patience, angel. This takes time." Arios said, scanning their surroundings.
"You certainly are slow for an archangel."
Arios snorted. "Baka…..did you honestly think I’d just snap my fingers and –boom-, we’d be out?"
"Enough. There is a way out, I promise you."
"Sure there is….." Vincent whispered sarcastically. Arios heard the remark, but held his tongue. He didn’t need to get into another argument with his little fledgling. He had other things to worry about.
"Well, Arios, this certainly makes things easier….."
Arios stopped in his tracks, his mouth hanging slightly agape. Vincent walked up next to the archangel, studying his expression. "Arios…..?"
"Gabriel….." the name came out with slight difficulty as he and Vincent turned to face the golden-haired angel. The imposing angel bowed at the sound of his name in mock humility. Vincent, recognizing the stranger as the one who put him here in the first place, drew his sword and entered an offensive stance. Gabriel chuckled quietly.
"I see you’ve survived…..so far."
"Bastard….." Vincent growled, taking a step towards the intrusive archangel. Arios stopped him, placing his hand in front of the former Turk. "What?" Vincent demanded.
"Do not attack him. You wouldn’t have a chance."
"Listen to your elder, fledgling." Gabriel chided.
"He’s had trouble with that as of late." Arios said softly, shooting a small glare at his creation. Vincent rubbed his neck in remembrance of recent events.
"So why are you here?" Arios asked, turning his attention to the archangel before them.
"Respect, Arios. I am of higher rank."
Arios glared. "-Sir- Gabriel, may I ask the purpose of this –humbling- visit?" He said, sarcasm dripping from his tone.
"I just came to see how this fledgling was doing, then I was off to go find you. Again, I thank you for saving me the trouble of finding you. And now that you are together, I shall leave, knowing your destinies end here. Arios, you will know longer threaten my position and this Child of Hell, this paradoxal creature, will be disposed of."
"Threaten your position? Gabriel, what are you talking about? I’ve never threaten your position….." Arios explained.
"You’ve always been a step behind me ever since we were fledglings and it was only a matter of time before you’d surpass me in rank. I could not allow that to happen."
"Gabriel, you’re talking nonsense….."
"Silence!" The archangel screamed. "Enough. Your traitorous actions are enough to keep you here for all eternity. Goodbye, dear Arios."
The golden-hair angel wrapped himself in his wings and disappeared from the sight of the other two.
"Eternity…..pfft, come, Vincent, let’s get out of here…..Vincent?"
Vincent tugged on Arios’ arm and pointed at the forty foot demon, a gift left in Gabriel’s stead.
"Come, my love….." Tifa whispered, guiding Cloud into a darkly decorated room. The room was far from simply furnished, each wall holding large tapestries, all depicting the fall of Hell’s angels. In the middle of the area was a grotesque-like tub, blood-tip horns garnishing the corners. From the décor, it seemed as if the tub itself was made from old and decrepit skulls. Inside the tub was a reddish liquid, very similar to that of human blood.
A hundred candles dimly lit the room, their light bouncing off of the crimson liquid, casting an eerie red glow throughout the vicinity.
"In here….." Tifa commanded softly, referring to the tub. Cloud nodded, stripping his clothes and entering the tub obediently. Tifa moved to the side of the receptacle, waving her arms over the liquid and chanting low.
Tifa’s body began to shift and contort as two leathery wings shot from her back. The skin resembling Tifa slowly melted off, revealing the demon Chaos.
"Listen to me, mortal, I can grant you amazing power." He hissed in his otherworldly voice. "So long as you remain faithful to me."
Cloud, completely captivated within the demon’s mind spell, nodded. "I will."
Chaos smiled then placed his claw to his wrist, making a quick slash in his skin. The dark liquid seeped from his wound, sliding down his arm. He held the puncture in front of Cloud.
Cloud looked at the wound then with a feral lust lunged at it, sucking greedily. After a few moments, Chaos pushed him away, leaving Cloud dazed and disoriented, the demon’s blood dripping from his mouth. Chaos pushed Cloud into the liquid, submerging him and then backed away.
The crimson liquid levitated from the tub, forming an oblong capsule with Cloud inside. The liquid soon grew opaque and after a few short moments the capsule exploded, dousing the flames of the candles, leaving the room in complete darkness.
One by one, the candles magically relit themselves, revealing the new-born demon floating in the center of the room.
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